CD Review: Let Him Lead You by Larry Sparks

This is a compilation of early Larry Sparks recordings re-issued by Rebel Records. Larry is one of the best bluegrass singers, knowing just how to twist a lyric for emotional effect. “When I Lay My Burdens” is a good example with some easy listening harmonies.

Don’t expect to hear Dailey and Vincent or Pine Mountain Railroad harmonies on this CD. The harmonies and arrangements are rather simple and spare but pleasant nonetheless.

The high speed “I Am The Man, Thomas” (Wendy Miller on mandolin and Ralph Meadows on fiddle) and “When My Time Comes To Go” (Ricky Skaggs doing the fiddle and mando parts) are filled with nice pickin’ that helps to push the repetitive lyrics. All the songs on this CD have the repetitive lyrics reminiscent of work songs and spirituals.

“Let Him Lead You”

“The Battle Of Armageddon” was written by Roy Acuff and Odell McLeod. Released in 1977 there is some nice classic dobro work by Tommy Boyd. The track also includes Ricky Skaggs on mandolin, Chubby Wise on fiddle and Art Wynder on bass. It was recorded in stereo with the fiddle on the left and dobro on the right. By 1968, the major record labels stopped making monaural discs and this recording is an early example of stereo recording.
Larry does an interesting vibrato laced guitar solo on “I Want To Die Easy, Lord.” “Let Him Lead You” with some odd chorus effect on the fiddle and “Going Up Home To Live In Green Pastures” are two of the more notable gospel songs tracked here. There is no song that really stands out on this CD but it makes one want to hear Larry do “John Deere Tractor” again. Other songs on Let Him Lead You

“Call Out To Jesus”
“Gonna Be Movin”
“Snow Covered Mound”
“That Awful Day”

Rebel Records

Doug Mathewson

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